The joy of bird watching

Ellen Emery

Today has been designated as National Grammar Day.

The designation of our days is fascinating to me. Each day has multiple listings for a designation.

There are days to honor peanut butter and pancakes and weathermen, too. I found today’s designation most interesting for I remember a time when there was an emphasis on good grammar, or perhaps I should say correct grammar.

My college English professor, Mrs. Beard, was instrumental (along with my parents) in developing my love for reading. It also was Mrs. Beard who worked diligently so each one in her class would use the proper grammatical sentence structure.

I smiled, though, as I read about National Grammar Day and wondered if anyone today was concerned with actually writing sentences. I am so fortunate to have in my possession the letters handwritten by my grandmother in the late 1930s to our father when he was in college.

I also have the letters my mother wrote to me in college and when we were first married. She would write every Sunday and Wednesday.

I also have the beautiful love letters our mother wrote to our father — each letter is so touching, a treasure. Each letter is wonderful not only with its marvelous content, but each using perfect sentence structure.

I am so grateful for each letter and card with such touching notes included. Each handwritten note I receive from our son and dear friends is saved for rereading.

Now I treasure communicating with family members, our sons and grandchildren and friends through texts. And there is no concern with grammatical correctness with brief text communication.

I read this week that the Global Language Monitor now estimates there is a total of more than a million words in the English language. I wonder if the number of words used of that 1,025,109 has dropped drastically since the creation of texting.

This week, I have thought about my English teacher, Mrs. Beard, and writing using correct grammar. I have looked for the indication from spell and grammar check on my computer to indicate an error.

And I think of the texts received — all brief, most not complete sentences only letters to indicate a thought. There is a “KK” for the word okay, “TY” for a thank you and I received recently a “NP” — No Problem (which in itself is not a complete sentence).

As I read about National Grammar Day, I was told that “language is something to celebrate.” I believe that completely — language is how we communicate with one another.

I love reading the language as expressed in the letters I have from family. I love reading the language in the newspaper and in books I have read and am reading. But there is concern for the future of our language.

The language I will read today (and enjoy as I share with friends and family) will be pictures shared through texting, emojis — hearts, cats (cats with hearts), coffee cups, snoring ZZZs indicating sleep and thumbs up! I am grateful for communication and am so glad our son and granddaughter encouraged me to get a “new” phone so I could communicate with them.

I can text and receive messages from foreign countries, New York City, Virginia, Texas, a friend vacationing in New Zealand and California within minutes. I receive messages from airplanes and college sporting events. And I am grateful.

I hope we never lose our written language, though, expressed through correct grammar. Happy Grammar Day — read the printed word today, and share a written sentence with a loved one or friends!


What a pleasure it was Wednesday of last week to meet a faithful column reader in Massena. As our paths crossed, she immediately mentioned dinner habits in their home. She told me she and her husband enjoy dinner in the living room, using TV tables — but they are eating together.

Last week, I had shared my thoughts about the importance of sharing meals together. The words of the woman I met last Wednesday touched my heart. She had read the column in the newspaper that morning and shared her own traditions.

I appreciate each one who reads and shares. And I am grateful to learn there are so many of you who eat together with a spouse or family.


My thanks this week to Cashier Katie in Dollar Tree in the Harte Haven Plaza. She was pleasant on a Friday afternoon as we discussed the issues of the day (paper or plastic) and made sure the payment for my purchase was an exact amount.

Isn’t the north country a marvelous place to live and shop on a Friday afternoon? I certainly think so.


“There is nothing more beautiful than someone who goes out of their way to make life beautiful for others.”

— Mandy Hale

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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